University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

SBS logo

Make a Gift

fall on campus

SBS Newsletter – October 2007

In this issue

Todd Langer

Alum Says, “Get Fit, Be Functional, and Live Pain Free”
Are you among the millions of people who experience back or other chronic physical pain? Todd Langer ’95 (communication) has developed a solution that is designed to help make you functionally fit by restoring true balance and posture. As founder and CEO of Functional Innovations, LLC in Longmont, Colorado, Langer has created the P.A.S.T.™ Core Training System (posture, agility, strength, total body integration) that changes core workouts from horizontal to vertical. The result: a means to help people live pain free. Read more...

Ronit Krieger

Student Aims to Positively Influence Young People
Ronit Krieger ’08 (psychology) came to UMass Amherst as an English major, but almost immediately switched to psychology because she loved the subject matter. Nearly four years later, she says her choice inspired a life goal. “A common theme that is constantly threaded through the majority of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ classes is the concept of helping others. This has inspired me to pursue a career as a motivational high school guidance counselor.” Read more...

Joya Misra

Sociologist Analyzes Inequality
“As the child of immigrants from two very different countries (India and Switzerland)—and brought up in a third country (the United States)—I have taken seriously the importance of a comparative and global lens,” says Associate Professor Joya Misra (sociology and public policy). As an Asian-American woman, I have also paid significant attention to how race/ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality intersect and shape experiences in crucial ways. Read more...

David Boromisza-Habashi

Grad Student Aims to Open Intercultural Dialogue Among European Communities
“People sometimes ask me why I chose to do my PhD in the Department of Communication at UMass Amherst,” says David Boromisza-Habashi, who expects to defend his dissertation in Summer 2008. “My answer is simple: it had the best faculty that I knew of in my line of research—the relationship between language use and culture.” Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Mentoring colleaguesSeveral Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grants Awarded to SBS
Ten academic units, including Anthropology, Political Science, Psychology and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and 11 faculty members, including Lisa Scott (psychology) and Shawn Shimpach (communication) have received Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grants from the Office of Faculty Development and the Provost’s Office. The grants, awarded for the 2007-08 academic year, are part of the Mutual Mentoring Initiative, which was funded by a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read more about the awards granted. Read more about the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grants Initiative.

military familyPsych Services to Offer Support for Military Families
In response to the stresses of separation and combat that active duty military personnel and their families face, the Psychological Services Center is offering two free support groups to help family members cope. The center’s director, Christopher Overtree explained to Karen Brown in a WFCR interview that the program “is a direct response to the growing needs of military families for support during this prolonged conflict, efforts we hope to see mirrored by other local and national organizations.” Listen to the mp3 interview. Read more...

Sum Buddy attends Massachusetts Bankers Association Credit Awareness DayMBA Internship Available for Spring
The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) and all 210 banks across Massachusetts are pleased to partner with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) in offering a paid internship with potential academic credit for the Spring 2008 semester. MBA is looking for 2-3 students to develop programs on campus to help their fellow students understand basic financial literacy. The students will meet with bankers for two sessions early in the spring semester to become trained in financial literacy issues and obtain resource materials for use in their programs. For more information and application, click here. For commentary about the internship experience from past recipients, click here.

National Center for Digital Government logoNational Digital Government Center Hosts Officials from Kazakhstan
The National Center for Digital Government (NCDG) hosted a visiting delegation of government and technology business leaders from Kazakhstan on Sept. 26. The visit was part of a 21-day program titled “Electronic Government for Transparency and Public Services: A Project for Kazakhstan.” It was designed to introduce Kazakh leaders to e-government in the U.S. and to explore the role it plays in strengthening democratic institutions. Special emphasis was placed on transparency, efficiency, accountability, and civic participation as a result of increased use of e-government tools and applications. Read more...

Deval PatrickGovernor signs Bill with Higher Education Matching Funds
On Oct. 21 Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed a $278 million supplemental budget, including $13 million in matching funds for the University and public college fund-raising. Under the bill previously approved by the Legislature, $7 million of the matching funds are earmarked for the University system. Created in 1996, the Public Higher Education Endowment Incentive Program is intended to leverage private donations by providing 50 cents in matching state funds for every dollar raised by the public campuses.

sirensCampus Safety Siren System Demonstration
On October 15, as part of the university's evaluation of emergency warning technologies, the campus hosted a demonstration of an outdoor campus warning siren system, provided by Federal Signal Safety and Security Systems of University Park, Ill. Such systems are activated if events, such as severe weather, criminal activity, large chemical spills, or other emergency situations, occur that endanger people who are outdoors. "Given the growing public safety risks on college campuses, UMass Amherst is assessing the many options available to notify the community if it faces imminent danger," said Don Robinson, director of Environmental Health & Safety, and head of the campus' Emergency Operations Center. "In addition to the emergency text-messaging system that will be implemented, we want to take a close look at the value of outdoor, public address alarm systems." Read the story. At this site, you can view the newsclip. Look in top left area.

UMass Unveils New Advertising Campaign: "Transform"
Governor Deval Patrick cites the transformative power of education and describes the University of Massachusetts as "the launching pad for so many success stories," in the University's new television advertisement, titled "Transform." It is airing in the Springfield, MA, and Boston television markets through November. To see the ad, click here.

Lecture Series in Broadcast Journalism Fall Event Is Smashing Success
Karen List (journalism director) wrote, "The panel 'The "New" New Journalism: Challenges and Opportunities in Multi-Media Reporting,' exceeded our expectations. Memorial Hall was bursting with majors and alums [including Peter Billman-Golemme '00 who brought his South Hadley High School journalism students]. Patrick Stiegman, ESPN executive editor, told students that new technology should be "like your skin." Both he and Chet Rhodes, assistant managing editor of, made it clear that journalism students today will need multi-media skills to be competitive in the job market. Emily Sweeney, a reporter from the Boston Globe with her video camera in hand, embodied all they were saying. After the panel, conversations about internships, jobs and return visits were flying. Alums were as excited as our students...." Streaming video of the program.

Faculty Notes
Researchers at UMass Amherst, including Peter Haas (poitical science) contributed to reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in recent years. The reports earned the panel the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore, a leading environmentalist and former U.S. vice president. Read more...

What are the rewards for the kind of teaching that has a direct and measurable impact on the surrounding community ... of research that is conducted in true partnership with the community ... and of scholarship that benefits all parties involved in that partnership? Faculty members and administrators grappled with that open question at the first campus-wide symposium on the issue, entitled “Beyond Outreach to Scholarly Engagement.” Among the faculty panelists was Assistant Professor Raymond La Raja (political science), who works in campaign finance. “Research is the priority," he said, "and then I see what in my research will make an impact on the community. I would like to see more institutional leadership. We should signal to people who are applying for jobs that this kind of engagement is valued.” Read more about the symposium.

Professor James Crotty (economics) and his contributions to the field of political economy were recognized Oct. 19-20 with the conference “Rebellious Macroeconomics: Marx, Keynes & Crotty.” Crotty has been a pioneer in exploring a range of central questions in political economy, including class conflict and the business cycle, financialization, international financial regulation, the successes and tensions of the East Asian development model, and a synthesis of Marx and Keynes. He has also had tremendous influence as a teacher and mentor to a whole generation of heterodox scholars. Read more...

University of Massachusetts Press has released The Future of Work in Massachusetts, edited by Tom Juravich (labor studies). This collection of original essays explores the changing nature of work in the Commonwealth and its impact on workers, their families and their communities. Read more...

The Victoria University Wellington Law Review has published a paper by David Mednicoff (legal studies and CPPA). "The Importance of Being Quasi-Democratic: The Domestication of International Human Rights in American and Arab Politics" builds on a comparative treatment of the politics of contestation and incorporation of human rights law in the United States, Morocco and Tunisia to highlight the salience of international law's democratic legitimacy problems of popular representation and mobilization. Read the paper [pdf].

The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR) continues its collaboration with the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing and the Center for Public Policy in the Societal Dimensions of NanoTechnology NSF project. The Center also held its annual Cyberweek, an all online ODR conference, October 15 –19, 2007, cosponsored with the InternetBar Organization. For more info, go to sign up for periodic email with news and information about developments in the Online Dispute Resolution field and events at NCTDR, contact Allan Gaitenby.

Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, spoke at the 4th Ministerial e-Government Conference in September in Lisbon, Portugal. Read more...

The Center for Public Policy and Administration's 2007 Annual Newsletter is available online. Click here to read all the news from the past year. [pdf]

Alumni News
The Springfield Republican ran a feature story just before the Red Sox World Series sweep on several UMass Amherst alumni who work for the organization, including SBS alumni Richard L. Bresciani '60 (journalism), the team’s vice president of publications and archives; and Rod Oreste '98 (communication), publications manager. Read the article...

Taara Rangarajan '07 (political science), a presidential campaign representative to Senator Hillary Clinton, recently spoke to students in a constitutional law class at Milford (N.H.) High School. Read more...

Jared Stenquist '07 (communication) is President of Jaredweb Inc., a web development firm based in Hadley, MA. He started the company during his sophomore year, which led to the formation of a second company,, a customizable website designed to organize students' social and academic lives. It offers access from a single site to Facebook, e-mail, news feeds, restaurant menus and more. CampusLIVE is currently available on seven campuses, including UMass Amherst, UConn, Amherst College, and Hampshire College. The CampusLIVE team also includes Boris Revsin '08 (information technology), Chief Technology Officer, and Jeff Cassidy '07 (Isenberg School of Management), Vice President of Marketing, as well as seven UMass Amherst interns. In addition, Jared tells us, "Our on-campus mentor and advisor has been James Theroux, Flavin Family Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Isenberg School, who has helped us tremendously over the past year."

Christian E. Weller '98 PhD (economics) writes, "After almost a decade in Washington, D.C., think tanks, I have now moved back to UMass, albeit to the Boston campus. Since September, I am teaching in the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the McCormack Graduate School as an associate professor." Read more...

Nicole (Chiasson) Goldman ’93 (communication) has been promoted to Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for The Jim Henson Company, the established leader in family entertainment, puppetry, animatronics and visual effects. She has been with the Company since September 1995. Read more... [pdf]

George Epstein '48 (engineering and supporter of SBS), who was sports editor of the Collegian when Mass. State College became UMass Amherst and went on to a luminous engineering career before he retired, wrote to tell us he is now a poker author and columnist for the Poker Player newspaper. He also teaches poker classes and conducts a Poker Lab for the City of Los Angeles. At the recent and first California Poker Players Conference, held earlier this month, he explained why poker is NOT gambling and shared his Four Basic Rules for winning, plus his Hold'em Algorithm. Read more and listen to an interview...

Do you have news you'd like to share? Send it to the SBS Newsletter.

SBS in the News
USA Today, 10/29/07. Andrew Papachristos (sociology) comments in a story about Chicago street gangs moving into the Mississippi Delta, creating a pipeline that sends guns, drugs and violence back and forth between the regions. Read athe article...

Congressional Quarterly Congressional Testimony, 10/23/07. The work and writing of Emeritus Professor Ervin Staub (psychology) on genocide is cited in the Oct. 23 congressional testimony by Jerry Fowler, director of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Springfield Republican, 10/18/07. Sean Calicchio '09 (sociology), right tackle for the UMass Amherst football team, is profiled. Calicchio recovered a key fumble during the Villanova game that helped the Minutemen seal their overtime victory. Read the article...

HR Magazine, 10/2007. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, was quoted in the cover story, "Are You Too Family Friendly?" that focuses on current shifts in family-friendly policies in the workplace based on marriage trends across the country. Badgett discusses differences in uninsurance rates among single-sex couples, married people, and unmarried heterosexuals with partners. Her statements are based on a 2006 study conducted with Michael Ash (Economics and CPPA) with the Williams Institute. Read the article [pdf] To read "New Study on Health Insurance Inequality and Domestic Partner Benefits" by M.V. Lee Badgett and Michael Ash, please click here [pdf].

Inside Higher Ed, 10/16/07. Emeritus Professor Guenter Lewy (political science) is one of the prominent academics arguing that the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915 doesn’t qualify as genocide, but was a case of mass killing. Read the article...

Boston Globe, 9/29/07. A column co-authored by Ethan Katsh, legal studies, discusses using online dispute resolution for small claims court cases. Read the article...

Upcoming Events
November 15: The Economics Department presents the 11th annual Gamble Lecture. Featured speaker: Dani Rodrik, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and faculty chair of the MPA/ID program there. 4:00 p.m., Gordon Hall. Read more...

November 16-18: Unbroken Chain, the largest conference on the legacy of the Grateful Dead, and the first to be held by a major university. Scholars, artists, performers, students and members of the extended Grateful Dead family will gather for the event. Attendance is limited to 500. Sponsored by UMass Amherst Graduate School, the Department of History and UMass Amherst Outreach. More info and registration...

A Word from SBS
This e-letter has been created for alumni and friends of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SBS includes the departments and programs of Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Legal Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy and Administration, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. With 38,000 alumni, 5,000 current undergraduate majors, and 500 graduate students, SBS is the largest of UMass Amherst’s colleges. In addition to its departments, it is home to numerous programs and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 150 faculty members teach one quarter of the nearly 20,000 undergraduates on campus in any given semester.

Gifts from alumni and friends are vital to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s—and tomorrow's—students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a donation to SBS for your department, student financial aid, or a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities. A recently published booklet that outlines why gifts are important to the future of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is now available online. To make a gift online, click here. Questions? Contact:
James Mallet, Director of Development
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
236 Draper Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
40 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244
(413) 577-1700

We welcome feedback related to this newsletter, the college in general, specific concerns, or topics of interest. Please address all correspondence, including story ideas, to Sabine Cray, marketing and communication specialist. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please write to the SBS Newsletter. If you have had a change of address, email or other personal information, you can update it online. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone unrelated to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Back to Top

Draper Hall • University of Massachusetts Amherst • 40 Campus Center Way • Amherst, MA 01003-9244 • Tel: 413.545.4173 • Fax: 413.577.0905
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Draper Hall University of Massachusetts 40 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003-9244 (413) 545-4173 FAX: (413) 577-0905